3 Wedding Film Must Haves

So you’re thinking about having your wedding filmed. Awesome! Now, what to consider… maybe how much coverage you should have? One shooter or two? Hi-Def? Does the cinematographer do “cool” editing effects? Sure, all these things should definitely be discusses and thought about, however there are three that are paramount to the rest… and sometimes overlooked.

1. Audio – That’s right. The first thing on our list isn’t “video” at all… it’s audio. The importance of audio is undeniable. If the audio is bad (too low, too high, not capturing what it’s supposed to be) it can completely destroy the rest of the film. You want to make sure, first and foremost, that your cinematographer is using pro audio equipment. During the ceremony they should have at least one wireless microphone attached to the groom. This mic will be able to record all of the vows and other verbal audio during the ceremony, which of course, is incredibly important. If you have someone standing in the back of the room hoping to record what’s being said in the front with a microphone attached to the camera, you’re going to be disappointed.

2. Stabilization – You know the stereotypical “home” movie of a birthday or vacation… the one where mom or dad is walking around filming the action, everything jittery and bumpy. Yeah, they’ve got that “vintage” hand held look down. There’s nothing wrong with that, as a matter of fact, if you like it you could probably just get your uncle to shoot your wedding and you’d totally love the result. But, if that’s not how you envision your wedding film to be, then you should check, double check and triple check that the cinematographer has a variety of stabilization options available. The bare minimum would be either a tripod or monopod. Then you’ll at least have footage that isn’t shaking around like an action scene from the latest Hollywood summer blockbuster. However, if you’re looking for dynamic shots that really showcase the day you’re going to have to demand a steadicam rig or something similar. A steadicam is basically a counterbalance system that allows the cinematographer to walk, run, jump, spin, etc… while keeping the camera movements buttery smooth.

3. Experience – Sometimes I see craigslist ads where people are looking for film students to shoot their wedding films. I’m guessing these people are trying to save a buck and still get quality work. That doesn’t really exist. Film students are students for a reason. If they were able to walk out into the world and be successful film-makers, they’d already be doing that. Most students may have not even been to a real wedding before in their life… let alone film one!!! Experience is solid, pure, raw professional building stuff. An experienced cinematographer will be able to anticipate events and be there to capture them. They also won’t make simple mistakes like forgetting batteries or memory cards or worse. If you’re willing to try your luck with a student you might be just as pleased with having your uncle shoot it (who’ll also give you that awesome shaky look! win/win).

Of course there are other things to consider as well, but these three things will give you a wedding film that you are happy with. Maybe you can’t afford coverage of the entire day if you’re trying to stay within your budget, but having a well shot half-day is far better than a horribly shot full one.

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